On the third floor of an abandoned textile mill to the north of Preston, a wave of strange musical beauty is blossoming. Brought up on the sounds of nearby Manchester – think New Order and The Smiths et al – White Flowers, made up of Katie Drew and Joey Cobb, make gloriously gothic Lynchian pop music that’s as ambiguous as it is beautiful and exciting.
On 15th January 2020, the duo release their debut double A-side single – Night Drive / Portra on Tough Love Records (Toy, Ulrika Spacek, The Stroppies).
Co-produced by Doves’ guitarist, Jez Williams, Night Drive’s guitars carry a Kevin Shields-esque drone, as they swirl above its fragmented arrangement. Apocalyptic in nature, it twists and turns – thematically covering anxiety, fragility and frustration, while reminding that, even in the lowest of moments, one should not lose hope.
Unlike Night Drive, Portra was formed much more quickly. Written in reaction to the selfish world we now inhabit, it carries with it a feeling of being powerless – a theme which runs throughout their debut album, which will follow later in 2020. ‘Creating and crafting the songs has always been a therapeutic outlet for us,’ Cobb stated. ‘It’s been a long process, but it’s been one which has helped us deal with the frustration, worries and difficulties that come with every day life. It’s definitely a very cathartic record. It serves as a kind of journal of growing up and maturing in the 21st Century.’
Having begun life as scraps of ideas on a laptop, the songs were carefully crafted by the pair, before Williams got on board. ‘At times, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when you’re so involved in the song,’ Drew noted. ‘Jez was great at drawing out the most important aspects. A lot of the songs are first takes – recorded at home in a very lo-fi way, but Jez gave us confidence. He made us realise that the rawness and the accidents are where the magic is. As fans of Doves, we’ve always admired the soundscapes and sampling techniques that they use, so it was a privilege to work with him.’
In juxtaposition to the simplicity of their name, White Flowers’ music is certainly anything but – such are the strong moods, layers and textures than are embedded throughout their work. 2020 marks the beginning of a journey for the Preston duo, so sit back and watch them blossom.
The double A-side single, Night Drive/Portra, which will be released on 12” vinyl is limited to 500, is out on 15th January 2020. The band’s debut album will be released in June 2020.
Prior to the release, White Flowers will be heading out on tour with Toy to celebrate Independent Venue Week. Dates include Sunderland (25th Jan), Chester (26th Jan), Guildford (27th Jan), Leicester (28th Jan), Ipswich (29th Jan), Bedford (30th Jan), Southampton (31st Jan) and Ramsgate (1st Feb).